Defender extends Baggies stay until 2017
ALBION defender Craig Dawson has put pen to paper a new and improved three-year contract.
The 24-year-old has been rewarded for his impressive displays during the opening stages of the 2014/15 Barclays Premier League season.
Under head coach Alan Irvine, Dawson has seized the opportunity to enjoy his most sustained spell of first-team football since joining the Baggies in 2010.
He has started all six of Albion’s league matches at the heart of defence and duly scored his first goal for the club in his 38th appearance during the 4-0 home victory over Burnley on Sunday.
The agreement ends any lingering speculation about the future of the talented young centre-back, who was the subject of multiple bids from top-flight rivals Burnley over the summer.
Dawson’s new deal keeps him at The Hawthorns until 2017.
Irvine said: “Obviously Craig was very unsettled when I first arrived in the summer but we as a club were never interested in selling him.
“We felt he had the potential to be a top centre-back and once he got his head settled and knew he wasn’t going anywhere he started to put in very good performances.
“His level of consistency has kept him in the team despite our having top international centre-backs breathing down his neck.
“Getting a new contract, which he thoroughly deserves, completes a great start to the season for him and I’m really pleased for the lad.”
Dawson, who can also slot in at right-back, joined the Baggies from Rochdale for an undisclosed fee in the summer of 2010, although he returned to his hometown club on loan for the 2010/11 season.
His Albion debut came in the League Cup the following campaign, the first of 12 outings in 2011/12, before he was selected as part of Stuart Pearce’s Team GB squad at the London Olympic Games.
Having started 2012/13 at The Hawthorns, Dawson went on to spend the second half of the season on loan at Bolton – featuring for England in the Under-21 European Championship that summer.
Another 15 appearances followed last term, starting six of Albion’s final eight matches.
Dawson, having signed fresh terms in February 2012, was previously contracted to the club until June 2015, with a further year’s option in Albion’s favour.
And technical director Terry Burton is thrilled to keep him at the club on a new long-term deal.
“I’m delighted for Craig and the club,” he said.
“He’s a great example for players that if they have a great attitude, work hard and try to develop their game then the rewards are there for them.
“It’s pleasing from a football club’s point of view that you can get players like that and you can i) give them the opportunity and ii) the player responds to it and grabs it with both hands.
“I think it’s an excellent signing. I’m pleased for everybody concerned that Craig is going to be here for the foreseeable future.”